Why Protest Politics Will Stay Dead
It's old hat these days to joke about the freak shows that constitute left-leaning political marches or rallies. Whether you're on the right or left, the chaotic morass of unleashed pet causes is a sad sight to behold. It's rarely been, to me, as frustrating as now, with the rise of the immigration rights movement, through which protest politics is experiencing its only chance of rebirth. I could go on and on and I have at other times, but tonight I must give Shawn Macomber props for getting specific and dirty on this topic in the American Spectator.
Some favorite moments:
Like a movie star whose Hollywood cachet you can track by the ebb and flow of his entourage, the number of political hangers-on at the San Francisco march clearly demonstrated the ascendancy of the immigration rights movement. As with any other hangers-on, the people trying to cop a ride on the immigrant rights movement's coattails have their own agendas -- agendas that are not necessarily a boon to the cause.
literature castigating the Zionist Entity outnumbered amnesty/immigration rights pamphlets by at least ten to one. A man peddling Mexican flags had few takers. There was one booth dedicated to registering recent immigrants. The first question on the lips of nearly every other booth table jockey was some variation of, "So do you have any interest in the wider movement?"
The starkest example I saw of how disconnected the activists attempting to co-opt immigration for their own ends were from those they were ostensibly there to help was a middle-aged white woman standing in the midst of arriving Hispanic marchers waving mostly American flags -- although some Mexican and El Salvadoran flags fluttered in the breeze as well -- with a sign hoisted above her head reading, "Sensenbrenner, You Are an Extremist Jew!"
Gerald Lenoir from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration followed this up, exclaiming, "We are fighting against the same racist system. We are fighting against the same corporate power. We are fighting the same right-wing conspiracy in the United States." And still more muddle from yet another speaker: "We are all members of families of the world against globalization fighting for a better life for grassroots communities."
Globalization? Corporate power? The IMF? When did a freshman sociology class take over the march?
Allowing a march to devolve into a circus where immigrant rights become inextricably entangled with pet issues of the far left, however, only serves to further convince those with conflicted feelings about immigration that this categorically is not their struggle.
As it stands now it has more to fear from those desperate to associate attach themselves as "friends" of the movement than it does from Pat Buchanan.
Having been involved in "on-the-ground" political activism in my more naive days, I can actually recall discussions:
"There's going to be an anti-death penalty march. We should bring our feminist group flyers to hand out!"
"Yeah, that's a great idea!"
I look back and shake my head.